Social Media as an Effective Marketing Tool

Introduction

Social media networks (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Blogs, Linkedin and FourSquare) have become an intimate part of our everyday life. The World Wide Web has significantly popularized social media networks. The World Wide Web provides a platform upon which social media networks enable people to interact.

This interaction has turned the world into more of a village whereby information is quickly passed across from one point to another. The passage of information in such ways around the world has had great effects some of which have influenced the way people spend their money.

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Information is power and it can greatly influence those who come across it. Marketers have wisely tapped into the platforms availed by social media networks to sway the way people view goods and thus influence their behavior in regard to consumption.

Social media networks have been effectively used as marketing tools creating a great influence among youths with whom social media networks are quite popular. This article will review how social media networks have effectively been used as marketing tools; the analysis in this article will show how important social media networks have become particularly in marketing in regard to online shopping and communication.

To bring out this significance of social media networks, the article will highlight the popularity of social media networks, how they can be used to collect views and how they can be used to show current trends. The article also shows the significance of social media networks in fashion industry.

Popularity of Social Media Networks

By showing the popularity of social media networks among youths, this section clearly brings out the potential that social media networks have as marketing tools. Marketing is directed towards customers and potential customers and what social media networks do is kind of gathering people into a common center stage.

Everyday social media networks register members. As at august this year, Facebook had members up to a tune of 750 million making it the most popular social media network. The other social media networks are equally popular and have continuously registered huge numbers of members on an everyday basis (Seomoz, 2011).

As noted in the introduction, the World Wide Web has played a significant role in promoting social media networks. Communication tools such as computers and mobile phones are greatly being made achievable; as these communication tools continue to flood the market; social media networks have become more and more popular.

Availability of smart phones has been of great help to teenagers as they help them to keep in touch 24 hours. It is a fact that people interact more online as compared to physical interaction (Saleem, 2008).

Social media networks are slowly becoming a basic form of communication among people interacting. As a matter of fact almost every person especially in the developed countries owns a mobile phone which can access the internet. A mobile phone is a personal gadget which is carried around and by the fact that such a phone can access the internet then it can also be used to access a social media network.

Social media networks have been noted to be addictive (CBS News, 2009). They become addictive because of their appealing nature and convenience of using them. It is evident therefore that social media are quite popular and the general trend is that everybody is seeking membership to one or more social media networks to keep in touch with friends.

As noted at the beginning of this section, popularity of social media networks shows their potential for marketing purpose. Social media are used as effective marketing tools because of the huge population which has adopted them and thus social media networks act as a platform for marketing by availing the people to whom marketing is to be carried out to.

How Social Media Networks are Strategic as Marketing Tool

This section will show how social media networks are strategic as tools of marketing. This section mainly shows that social media networks are good sources of gathering information; the information gathered can easily be used strategically for marketing purpose.

Social media networks make it possible for people to share their views on different topics. The views are usually in form of short comments posted. Such comments reflect the feeling and attitude of those who post them. It should be noted that companies can create profiles on social media networks and use such profiles to collect information posted in form of comments.

Such information may be useful in twofold manner: it can help in the improvement of a product and also in the creation of a new product for existing needs in the market. When negative comments are posted on a company profile concerning some goods or a product such comments ought to be taken seriously and attempts made to rectify the situation.

Positive comments also ought to be followed up (Treadaway & Smith, 2010). As noted above, social media networks have huge followers and the sentiments passed through social media networks can not be ignored.

Marketing agents should be close and keen followers of social media networks. What customers say about a product is very important and should be taken into consideration (Evans & McKee, 2010).

Another aspect that makes social media networks quite strategic is their ability to pass information quickly. Social media networks are quite well connected and when an event occurs, the users of social media network get informed so fast.

This implies that marketers are assured of their messages spreading around very fast. Since the users of social media networks are networked within themselves, spreading of information throughout members is carried out with great ease (Chaney, 2009).

Making Social Media Networks Work for Marketing

It has been shown in the above two sections that social media networks have two aspects that make them very important for marketing. The first aspect is that they are very popular; they have millions of followers. The second aspect is that social media networks are very strategic for the purpose of carrying out marketing. The issue of being strategic arises due to the ability of information to move round quickly within the network.

The easy movement of information makes social media networks very ideal for marketing. They are also very important for quick collections of guidelines of views concerning a product or even a company image. These two aspects of social media make them very important for marketing.

According to O’Shaughnessy (1995), “marketing covers those activities that relate the organization to those parts of the outside world that use, buy, sell or influence the outputs it produces and the benefits and services it offers” (p. 4). It is very evident from this definition of marketing that social media networks really provide that link between a business unit and the outside world.

The social media provides a platform for communication between a business unit and the outside world of that business unit. There are four important observations that a business unit ought to put into consideration when contemplating on how to make social media work for them.

Observation One: The first observation that ought to be considered is that social media networks are all about people and relationship. This is a very vital observation because it will enable a business unit to run its social profile successfully. A profile which relates well with others will likely receive more visits.

A business unit has to ensure that its profile is in touch with what is happening on the ground and keep abreast with current information being shared through social media networks. In general, a business unit profile has to ensure that it creates a good and close relationship with its visitors.

Observation Two: The second observation is that social media networks avail a channel for obtaining vital information. A business unit has to learn how to extract information from the users of social media networks. The information collected has to be processed well has it will provide vital insights into the way the users of a business commodity view the products or even the whole company (Sheldrake, 2011).

Actually, social media networks are just but market research tools whereby a business unit gets to extract very vital information about both its image and products. A keen observation of the information provided by the users will give a clear picture of the image that the users have of a business organization.

Observation Three: A business image can be developed with a proper establishment of a proper connection. By the fact that being popular implies having more online followers in the context of social media networks, a business unit may try to frame itself into being popular.

This may take time to achieve especially for a new business venture but all the same it can be achieved. Popular sites or online profiles have more followers interested in hearing from such profiles. By consistently offering what the users prefer, a client base of a business profile will gain more followers. As an illustration, a pharmaceutical company may post information on effects of using expired drugs, or anything that is related to its products but one that will attract the attention of the users.

Observation Four: the last observation is that this method of marketing is cheap but time intensive. In the short run it may not give significant results depending on the number of followers but as followers’ base increases it will surely make a significant mark in terms of making observations concerning company products and image.

This disadvantage however should not be observed in the light of opting not to use social media networks; social media networks are too popular to be ignored and therefore all business ventures have to get into this boat by all means.

Fashion Companies and Social Media

Fashion companies are among those businesses which greatly depend on social media networks as a means of popularizing their products. The following discussion brings out facts that show why fashion companies should tap into social media networks as a means of enhancing their popularity and increasing sales.

Fashion is a popular trend among Generation Y: fashion products are very popular among Generation Y. Youths have been known to go to great lengths to spend on fashion products. As long as anything is in fashion, it becomes the desire of youths to have that item. It has been observed that youths do not buy most of the fashion products because they need them but rather because they need to keep up with the trend (Jaffray, 2008).

Though quite disturbing, it has been shown that youths are becoming materialistic with each coming day as an average youth has more than what he/she needs: “I have over 20 pair of sneakers,” said Nakeisha. “And boots, I have probably like 20 … If I could have a shoe for every day, I wouldn’t repeat a pair of shoes once” (Stossel, 2011, p. 1). In the eyes of youths, fashion is something you have to keep up with, “There’s almost like this … boundary that you don’t want to cross … because then you’ll just be like, weird” (Stossel, 2011, p. 1).

There is no single youth who will wish to appear weird and therefore anything that is rumored to be fashionable has to be acquired as soon as possible.

The best way to reach this population is through social media: using social media networks has clearly become a fashion thing among youths. It is almost impossible to get a youth who is not a member of at least one social media network; in fact, most of them have membership in more than one network.

It is very clear from the above discussion that youths carry out their interaction through social media networks. All gossips are spread through social media networks be it a new teacher in school, an accident that has just occurred or a new song released to the market. Youths tend to have unified preferences thus they will likely have similar purchases.

Since fashion is everything to youths and the fastest and most effective way of communication among youths is through social media networks, it is of great significance that the fashion industry taps into this magic connection to their advantage.

Conclusion

Social media networks have been shown to have a huge potential for marketing products. Social media networks are used by millions of people connected in some way to each other. This connection through social media networks makes it possible for information to flow around very quickly. Views on different issues are shared on these networks.

The fast spreading of information among network members and sharing opinions is what makes social media networks ideal to be used as great marketing tools by business organizations. It has also been noted that youths are very fond of social media networks and by the fact that gadgets like smart phones are easily available; it has become a possibility that people are connected all the time.

Literary, all forms of business organizations can use social media networks to spread a word about their products and operations. It has also been observed that the fashion industry can greatly carry out marketing of its goods to youths using social media networks taking into consideration the fact that youths are almost addicted to fashion and social media networks.

Social media networks have extremely become popular. Different businesses are venturing into using these networks to popularize their products as the networks provide huge audience to businesses.

The networks are be used in collection of customer views on different products of a business and such information can readily be used to make rectifications on the products to suit customer preferences. Social media networks can therefore be used to popularize products as well as collect information on customer preferences on products thus playing the role of powerful marketing tools.

References

CBS News. (2009). Social Networking: An Internet Addiction? CBS News. Retrieved on 8th September, 2011 from: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/06/24/earlyshow/main4205009.shtml

Chaney, P. (2009). The Digital Handshake: Seven Proven Strategies to Grow Your Business. New York, NY: John Willey and Sons.

Evans, D and McKee, J. (2010). Social Media Marketing: The Next generation of Business Engagement. New York, NY: John Willey and Sons.

Jaffray, P. (2008). Teen Survey Reports Slight Increase in Fashion Spending. Guides for the Journey. Retrieved on 8th September, 2011 from: http://www.piperjaffray.com/2col_largeright.aspx?id=1088

O’Shaughnessy, J. (1995). Competitive marketing: a strategic approach. New York, NY: Routledge.

Saleem, H. (2008). Popularity of Social Networking. Directory Journal. Retrieved on 8th September, 2011 from: http://www.dirjournal.com/articles/popularity-of-social-networking/

Seomoz, O. (2011). Social Media Marketing Guide. Seomoz. Retrieved on 8th September, 2011 from: http://www.seomoz.org/article/social-media-marketing-tactics

Sheldrake, P. (2011). The Business of Influence: Reframing Marketing and PR for the Digital Age. New York, NY: John Willey and Sons.

Stossel, J. (2011). Teens Spending on the Rise. ABC News. Retrieved on 8th September, 2011 from: http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=124346&page=1

Treadaway, C and Smith, M. (2010). Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day. New York, NY: John Willey and Sons.

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